Last chance to grab a Pixel 3A off Google's UK store with 4A successor around the corner

Plus: Apple declares first-gen Retina MacBook Pro 'obsolete'

Google has discontinued its hugely popular Pixel 3A and 3A XL mid-range smartphones. While the device will continue to receive updates for the foreseeable, the Chocolate Factory has no plans to produce more units.

Already the device is showing as sold out on the US Google Store. Both the Pixel 3A and XL remain available on the UK version, as well as via third-party retailers, but once those supplies are depleted, punters will have to settle for pre-owned.

Google revealed the Pixel 3A and 3A XL at its 2019 Google I/O conference. Both devices quickly won critical acclaim for their excellent camera and stock Android experience, paired with a stomach-able price tag. The 3A, for example, cost £399 at launch. Subsequent reductions now have it at £329.

Predictably, the Pixel 3A series sold like hotcakes, pushing Google's shipments above those of other rivals, including OnePlus. According to IDC's Francisco Jeronimo, Google's mid-tier mobe accounted for almost 49 per cent of the firm's device sales during calendar 2019.

The decision by Google to stop selling the Pixel 3A series is indicative of the imminent launch of its next-generation mid-tier blower – the Pixel 4A.

Google has kept schtum about this device, although FCC filings suggest it'll ship without the Soli RADAR chip found on last year's Pixel 4, meaning it won't support gesture-based navigation.

Now for something not completely different...

Coincidentally, Apple has declared its first-generation Retina MacBook Pro "obsolete". This isn't much of a surprise. Firstly, because it's almost eight years old. Secondly, because it was conspicuously absent from the list of machines that'll get the macOS Big Sur update later this year.

What does the "obsolete" label mean in practice? In short, Apple will no longer provide hardware support. If you crack your display or need a battery replacement, you'll have to go to a third-party technician, who might end up using unofficial components to perform the job. One can't help but feel as though this smacks of planned obsolescence. The 2012 Retina MacBook Pro is still a decent machine, and there are still people out there using theirs without problem.

Fortunately, 2020 will be a good year for upgrades, with analyst Ming-Chi Kuo expecting Apple to release an Arm-powered MacBook Pro later this year. As an added bonus, the loathed butterfly keyboard has finally been phased out from Apple's laptop lineup. ®

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